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Monday, December 8, 2014

Gratitude Journal: Day 16-30, on love

The last 15 days of the gratitude journaling I had a lot of extra time without Internet to hand write in my personal diary, reflect and renew, catch another stomach virus, teach and practice yoga, read and cycle in the rain, fellowship in community, and be still. 

In the stillness my ears rang with new clarity. The extra sleep, lack of computer time and encouraging environment fostered some deep healing. Gratitude lists were extensive and varied throughout my adventurous 2 weeks. Doodle-filled inventories of frivolousness appreciation for things like nightshade vegetables and blue white and yellow butterflies, but also significant entries such as encounters with the prepossessing souls and an experience on Monkey Rock overlooking the valley below where I felt veritable Oneness (Samadhi) that was unexplainable. I simply wrote: ONE in all caps. It took my breath away.   

Gratitude just might be the reason I hold out so much hope and positivity for the future. Not all of life is easy to be grateful for. There was this virus that knocked me out for more than 2 days and still, I had to teach. However, there is always a thread of brilliance weaving things intricately together that isn't visible at the time. 

Two women come to mind whom I am deeply grateful for. Vastly differently, they both exemplify living yoga to me. Each overcoming great barriers in their lives but doing so with grace, integrity and by pulling up others around them rather than pushing them down. I am infatuated with their giving spirits and excited to have forged strong new friendships with them. 

One of the women inspired this journal entry from Day 9 of my trip... 

Sometimes we have to move away from that which we love the most. Love then seeps into areas untouched, melting hardened boulders strategically placed around the heart. A lifetime of experiences may twist and shape us but cannot contain us once we have pulled our heart out, exposed and free of shame or fear. Love returns us to our true home within. 
Love returned. 

*A note about 30 days of gratitude. 

Just, thank you for being a part of it either by reading or sharing your own thankfulness. If you didn't, go ahead, try it. I'm pretty sure it will significantly alter... something within you. Give it some time to stew and then taste how good it feels. 

In joy, 


Friday, November 14, 2014

Day 15: Gratitude Journal, the song of my soul through poetry

"A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep." Salman Rushdie.
Today, I am grateful for the written word. When I sit to write and no words come which is frequent, there is always Yoga. Movement. Breath. Music. Words. I covet inspiration that I get from the written word. Addicted to self study and spiritual understanding... poetry reaches a part of me that other methods simply cannot.  

Poetry brings to life what is hidden beneath the layers of my protective heart, expressing songs that my soul sings. Offering comfort and a familiarity that I cannot often convey articulately, I am instantly transported to a moment in my life where I stood just where the author did. I can feel his empathy. Together, we dance and move in and between the words strung together as if it was exclusively for me. To me.

Rumi is stirring but if you're getting all your inspiration from him, the Dali Lama, Mary Oliver, or Hafiz on Facebook, then you're missing out on some of the lesser known, most influential writings of our time. These poets explore love, lust, the meaning of life and even details that you'd swear gave them a voyeuristic view into your own life. 

Feast on the words of these inspirational poets. (#3 on this list is my personal favorite.)

1. Randall Mann, author of Complaint in the Garden (2004), winner of the Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry writes with brave vulnerability. In response to critics who say that his openly gay references in his writings are bold, Mann responds, “If tenderness between two men is radical—and I suppose it is—then the shameful world needs a new radicalism.”

Bernard Hill

Something has to give.
We stand above it all.
Below, the buildings' tall
but tiny narrative.

The water's always near,
you say. And so are you,
for now. It has to do.
There's little left to fear.

A wind so cold, one might
forget that winter's gone.
The city lights are on
for us, to us, tonight.

2. Richard Blanco, the youngest, and one of only 6 poets in history to share poetry at the president's inaugural address. 

3. David Whyte, writes with clarity, sensitivity and depth that pricks at my heart with every single poem. I am anxiously awaiting his new book. 


is a heartache and difficult to achieve because strangely, the act of forgiveness not only refuses to eliminate the original wound, but actually draws us closer to its source. To approach forgiveness is to close in on the nature of the hurt itself, the only remedy being, as we approach its raw center, to reimagine our relation to it.

It may be that the part of us that was struck and hurt can never forgive, and that forgiveness itself never arises from the part of us that was actually wounded. The wounded self may be the part of us incapable of forgetting, and perhaps, not meant to forget…stranger still, it is that wounded, branded, un-forgetting part of us that eventually makes forgiveness an act of compassion rather than one of simple forgetting.

Forgiveness is a skill, a way of preserving clarity, sanity and generosity in an individual life, a beautiful question and a way of shaping the mind to a future we want for ourselves; an admittance that if forgiveness comes through understanding, and if understanding is just a matter of time and application then we might as well begin forgiving right at the beginning of any drama, rather than put ourselves through the full cycle of festering, incapacitation, reluctant healing and eventual blessing.

…at the end of life, the wish to be forgiven is ultimately the chief desire of almost every human being. In refusing to wait; in extending forgiveness to others now, we begin the long journey of becoming the person who will be large enough, able enough and generous enough to receive, at our very end, that necessary absolution ourselves.

Excerpted from ‘FORGIVENESS’ From the upcoming book of essays CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. ©2014 David Whyte

Who would you add to this list? 

Join 30 days of Radical Gratitude and Love and write your own poem or stanza or simply one word that is the song of your heart today. 

Day 14: Gratitude Journal, whole and healing.

This week held 5 doctors visits and 2 dentist  (combined for me and both sons). How quickly things swivel-- all well one moment- then something that seems so minor takes you down. Everyone is mending nicely at the moment, thanks for wondering. 

Grateful for...

our heath, oh so darn grateful.
perspective and to not take my body's well being for granted. 
bonus time with the boys. oh, how each moment is a gift. 

May your life be filled with endless reminders of the fragile line we walk between well and unwell, whole and healing. Keep your head up, dear ones. Keep your heart strong

30 Days of Radical Gratitude and Love. Why wait? Join us for the next 15 days and see how it's magic works to raise your spirits, bring you joy and puts a smile on those around you. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Day 13: Gratitude Journal, serendipitous encounters with greatness, better known as just showing up.

Show up… we keep moving forward by purely showing up in all of life. Not getting it perfect.. but by getting it done. 

I once heard someone share the secret of success in 2 words: right decisions. How do you know you've made right decisions? 1 word: experience. How do you gain experience? 2 words: wrong decisions.

When it comes to getting the work done- just do it. Putting things off waiting for just the right inspiration or for the moment to be flawless wastes precious time because circumstances will never be perfect.

Next, let go. Open to whatever may come. That is allowing  for serendipity, "the effect by which on accidentally stumbles upon something fortunate especially while looking for something entirely unrelated." 

I am grateful to be a decisive person who still reserves the right after making some wrong decisions, to change my mind. It's in the trial and error of life that I have navigated not the straightest path to what I love but the most interesting of paths. This path has been paved with tears, sweat, juggling elves, miles and miles of ocean between 2 continents of families and friends that I love, precious time with kids and restorative time away from my kids, lost love and gained self love, enlarged perspective, enduring friendships that span the world and joy in the most un-looked, serendipitous for places. 

life + showing up - doing too much + thankful heart = serendipitous encounters with greatness 

Join us for 30 days of Radical Gratitude and Love. Seriously, it's not too late. I'm not kidding, join us now. Could be something serendipitous in it for you. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gratitude Journal: Day 12, on following your heart, creating abundance, & laughter.

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.” ~Henry David Thoreau 

Grateful today that I am allowing myself to follow my feelings more than my head. Overthinking just causes stress. There are no games in life. Just do what your heart says. Hard to go wrong when things are done with love and reverence, integrity and grace. 

Grateful for abundance. Donated 100% of my Acroyoga class last night to a friend's charity to raise funds/awareness for cancer research and within the hour, booked a session for the same amount. Give and you shall receive. If you'd like to share or give: click here.

Grateful today for my health and for laughter. A little under the weather yesterday and yet still managed to feel good while teaching. Woke up with a bizarre rash all over my body today... and just had to laugh... always something. It was either laugh or cry, I guess... I think I'll take a Claritin then watch a clip of Ellen Degeneres and laugh some more. This woman sounds just like my Grandma Walker. Oh, so good. 

Want to feel good all month? Join us for 30 Days of Radical Gratitude and love.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Day 11: Gratitude Journal, honoring those who serve.

Grateful for those who serve our country, on Veterans Day. You are the brave among us. 

Veterans Day honors the men and women in our military who sacrifice their lives every day. What they give up to serve and protect our country is astounding. What they gain, I'm not sure I will ever fully comprehend. Other than I can imagine that it stems from wanting to make a difference in this crazy world. I can see the dignity and depth of honor they have in serving our country. Just typing those words gives me chills. Perhaps only those wiling to trade their life for service can understand this kind of pride.
With each Veteran encountered, I've observed an unspoken kinship among them. An inner-circle kind of knowing they have without uttering a word. And, if they choose to share their experiences, their courage in exposing their vulnerability, creates a profound empathy among them. There is an understanding of what was procured through their glories and what vanished because of their sacrifices, loneliness and atrocities. I am humbled in their presence. 

If you'd like to show gratitude in honor of a Veteran today, there is an organization, Expedition Balance that is using it's resources to teach yoga and meditation to Veterans. Your support lends healing to Vets with PTSD. You can also purchase a beautiful painting by Shelly McDowell. 100% of the proceeds to go ExBal. Hurry, there are only 2 left.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Day 10: Gratitude Journal, all that is good.

Grateful that I can step back and allow others to take care of me once in a while. My generous friend Dawn did just that this weekend. From navigating my way to providing coffee and a comfy bed. But mostly she has sweet, sweet listening ears. This woman is fiercely loyal and incredibly generous. Thank you, dear one.

Grateful for friends who reach out, asking how I am and remember the small stuff... because it's in the small stuff that makes us feel cared for and nurtured. Thank you Jenn and Suji.

Grateful for snail mail... received a lovely hand written letter today that made my day... getting "old fashioned" things like this help me to remember that truly the world is full of so much good-- things to hope for - love to receive and give--  and that I should focus on the anticipation of that. Just that... for the moment.